I have to confess that I am one of those people who were hoping that the new Google phones would be sold beyond the United States. Since I saw its specifications, I thought that it would be a worthy competitor against those smartphones that boast of having their own processor or offering a powerful photographic section. Adding, in addition, some different characteristics to the rest of the models that we can currently buy. Both the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro promise this, but I’m going to focus on the little brother; the Google Pixel 6, a model that I have been able to test in depth for several weeks.
The base model of the new Google family is somewhat different from previous generations. It no longer stands out for being the compact alternative, but now it is presented as a candidate to compete against high-end models, such as the iPhone 13, the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S21 FE or the Xiaomi Mi 11. Also maintaining some differences important compared to the Pixel 6 Pro, which competes against the super Premium models. They are the following.
Its screen is somewhat different, both in terms of size and specifications. Although the difference in inches is very small (6.4 inches vs. 6.7 inches in the Pro model), the Pixel 6 bets on a Full HD + resolution instead of QHD + and a screen refresh rate of 90 Hz, and not 120 Hz like its big brother. So is your battery. Due to the differences in the screen, the battery of the Pixel 6 has a smaller capacity; of 4,614 mAh compared to 5,003 mAh of its older brother. The Pixel 6’s camera setup isn’t as comprehensive. Although it maintains the same resolution in its sensors, with the exception of the front camera, the Pixel 6 does not have a telephoto camera, but only includes a wide-angle and an ultra-wide-angle lens. These differences are also reflected in the price. The Pixel 6 (649 euros) is cheaper than the Pro model (899 euros).
Despite the differences, the Pixel 6 spec sheet is still impressive. It maintains the Tensor processor, the first chip designed by Google. Also the advances related to the photographic section, the exclusive software functions and those security extras that Google emphasizes and that curious – and in my opinion, acceptable – design so different from the rest of smartphones. Now, how do all these benefits behave on a day-to-day basis? Are they enough for the Pixel 6 to become a recommended option?
Google mobiles usually stand out for their excellent photographic section, and I can tell you that in this case it will not be any different. However, the processor that integrates this Pixel 6 is also a clear protagonist. Not only because it is the first time that Google includes its own SoC in one of its smartphones, but because this chip is also capable of driving other of the most important sections of this Pixel 6 – and yes, the camera is one of them.
On a technical level, the Tensor SoC is made up of eight cores. Four of them are high-efficiency, while it also includes two high-performance X1 cores and two other mid-performance Cortex-A76 cores. It is a peculiar configuration that, although it performs enough to offer a great experience, it is true that it is a little behind in synthetic tests of chips such as the Snapdragon 888.
In this case, yes, including your own processor has an important advantage: it can be perfectly optimized for a device that is also your own. And this, in this Pixel 6, seems to show. The terminal offers a performance that leaves very good feelings in any situation. There is no game that can resist it, no process that is difficult to start, and there are no cuts in the interface.
All this, supported by a 6.4-inch screen that, although it is not the best I have tried on a smartphone, does not leave anyone indifferent. The OLED panel does a very good job of interpreting colors, the brightness is more than positive even outdoors and the 90Hz screen refresh rate, although not as high as its competition, offers a good experience of navigation.
Regarding the battery, that of this Pixel 6 is 4,600 mAh. Enough capacity so I don’t have to worry about it all day. Even with intensive use, it offers good results, reaching the end of the day with 30% and managing to improve that figure with more moderate use (social networks with a Wi-Fi connection, photographs on specific occasions, etc.). It is important to mention, however, that the Pixel 6 charger is not included in the box, but must be purchased separately. At least, and as a point in favor that can somewhat offset the fact that it does not include a charger, it is compatible with fast charging.
Android 12 suits the Google Pixel 6 very well
The software is a very important section in the Pixel 6, not only because it includes Android 12, the latest version of Google’s operating system, but also because it does it in a very different way from other mobiles: with a “pure” version. That is, it does not include customization layers, nor pre-installed apps.
Android 12 on the Google Pixel 6 is completely adapted to Material You, Google’s new design language that is within an aesthetic called Material Theming, which refers to the different customization options. All elements, widgets, buttons, and icons now feature pastel shades that change color depending on the hues of the wallpaper. Everything is in harmony, and visually it is super attractive. The interface, yes, has some areas where, in my opinion, it is weak. For example, in the notification panel and shortcuts, which I personally find confusing.
On the other hand, Android 12 includes features related to security and privacy that are quite interesting. One of them is the possibility to choose what type of location an app can use: its a precise and exact one or an approximate one. It’s also easier to know what permissions apps use through a new section in settings, or to know if an app is using the camera or microphone through a notice that appears at the top of the screen. Special mention to the special functions that can be useful for everyday life, such as the possibility of translating a conversation in real time.
The best camera on an Android, even better
The star section of the Pixel 6 is its camera. Well, rather, its cameras, because this smartphone includes two. On the one hand, we have a 50-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.85 aperture. On the other, a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle sensor with f / 2.2 aperture and a viewing angle of 114 degrees. Same configuration as its older brother, the Pixel 6, with the only difference that this model does not include a telephoto sensor.
Here, Tensor returns to the fray, and it does so with an improved Image Signal Processor (ISP), as well as new software tweaks and tweaks that aim to make the best camera on an Android phone even better. And it is that the results obtained with the Pixel 6 are, in most cases, impressive. It is practically impossible to take a bad photograph in broad daylight or when the lighting conditions are favorable. It is surprising how well he interprets the colors and how he is able to preserve that detail in each of the photographs. All this, moreover, with a really precise approach.
Ultra wide angle
Ultra wide angle
Night mode off
Night mode activated
The excellent results of the wide-angle camera are also reflected in the secondary sensor. They preserve the color and that good level of detail, also adding an angle that allows capturing more information in the photograph without distorting the image, a point at which other smartphones with similar cameras tend to slack off. On some occasions, yes, I have missed a little more light in the scene.
The results are complemented by software features that greatly enhance the shooting experience, such as portrait mode and blur enhancement. My favorite function, without a doubt; Magic Eraser or Magic Eraser, feature allows you to remove objects or elements from an image. It is not something so different from what we find in apps like Pixelmator or Photoshop, but the fact that it is included in the native app is a plus point.
The function is also capable of recognizing those elements that can interfere with the photograph and automatically eliminate them. It works very well in most cases, although in some cases, especially in objects that are very close to the subject, it does not manage to eliminate them as accurately.
The Google Pixel 6 camera, yes, is not perfect. It has small negative points that weigh down the photographic experience a bit. For example, HDR often tends to saturate the image in an exaggerated way, with very intense colors that require repeating the shot. On the other hand, in some conditions, such as indoors where there is little lighting, the image tends to show noise in the darkest areas.
What you should not overlook the Pixel 6
It is clear that the most remarkable thing about the Google Pixel 6 is its photographic section, as well as its processor, which precisely also allows improving the results of the camera. But there are details of the Pixel 6 that are also worth reviewing.
If you thought I was not going to mention the design, let me tell you that you are wrong. It is also an important point in this smartphone, and for several reasons. In the first place, it is a different aesthetic from the rest of the models that are currently on the market. Its screen format is somewhat elongated and the module where the cameras are housed is very striking. I’m not going to lie to you; I like the look of the Pixel 6. It’s not the prettiest phone, and it’s not the one that feels the most premium either, despite the fact that its materials make it look that way. However, the fact that it is different is something that makes me look favorably on it. I do not forgive, yes, that black is the only color chosen by Google for marketing in Spain. The Google Pixel 6 is the first Google smartphone to include an in-display fingerprint reader. It is not the fastest —according to Google, due to the use of improved security algorithms—, but it works correctly. And speaking of security, the Pixel 6 includes a Titan M2TM chip that, together with the Tensor security core, is responsible for protecting data such as access codes or other personal information.
Is Google’s new mobile worth it?
After several weeks using the Pixel 6 I have been able to realize both its benefits and its drawbacks. In fact, and as I have commented in the course of the analysis, the smartphone has small negative points. Among them, slight problems in the processing when taking pictures in automatic HDR, a design that, although it is different, is not as good as other smartphones, or a front that resembles a mid-range mobile more than one high end. Do these drawbacks make the Pixel 6 a throwaway option? In a nutshell: no.
No smartphone is perfect, and this Pixel 6 isn’t either. However, for 649 euros, the price at which this terminal is available in the Google online store, there is no better Android. Above all, taking into account its outstanding photographic section, which not only stands out for the surprising results, but also for all the functions and software improvements behind it. All this, moreover, with a pure interface that will remain updated for years, as well as excellent performance, a remarkable screen and a battery that convinces with its good duration.
Compared to its competition, and taking into account its price, it is difficult to find a tough opponent for this Pixel 6. Its main competitor is the iPhone 13, a round smartphone, yes, but whose price is around 900 euros. In my opinion, the multimedia experience is much more complete in the Galaxy S21 FE, a model that also shares many similarities but, again, its price is slightly higher, around 800 euros. Perhaps the most important alternative to take into account compared to this Pixel 6 is the Xiaomi Mi 11, a smartphone that can be purchased for about 600 euros in some stores, and although its cameras are not likely to obtain such good results, it does maintain a excellent balance in all its features.